Monday, June 02, 2014

R' Shteinman: No degrees for girls even at the expense of losing large amounts of funding

R' Shteinman was asked by the head of the Seminary in Bnei Brak, R' Wolff, the following question. The seminary is getting a large sum of money to pay for the education of a certain set of girls and the donors are requesting that the girls get a degree. Should he acquiesce to the request or continue the policy of no academic degrees?

R' Shteinman answered, no degrees even if it causes a major loss of funding.

On one hand the Charedi world is collapsing economically and yet, the leadership will not allow anything to be done to alleviate the problem.

Source: B'Chadrei Charedim


Mighty Garnel Ironheart said...

First of all, Rav Shteinman has not missed a meal in a very long time other than on fast days. Like Marie Antoinette he doesn't realize how difficult the situation is for many of his followers.
Secondly, years ago the Wolfson foundation approached him about creating Chareidi colleges so educate Chareidim in trades to alleviate their poverty. It's on record that he said that it was better they remain in poverty because their Torah would be purer.
So he's being completely consistent.

dlz said...

If that is the case, why doesn't someone tell him?

David said...

Garnel: Really, Rav Shteinman hasn't had what you'd call a meal for over 70 years. He learns more Torah in one day than you learn in an entire month and you eat more in one day than he eats in an entire month. This is barely an exageration, he eats two small portions of hot cereal per day, and has quite a problem on Shabbos, because he's not used to eating. I think it's inappropriate, b'lashon ma'ata, to say he's like Marie Antoinette, he knows quite well how great the difficulties are, and he apparently holds, "al manat kein."

bluke said...


David is right. I have been in R' Shteinman's apartment and it is as simple and poor as can be and his meals are likewise very simple and small.

However, this may work the other way. He grew up in pre-WWII Brisk and therefore knows what real poverty is and he is able to live very simply (in poverty). However, times have changed, and the current generation can't live in the same abject poverty that R' Shteinman can and therefore are much more challenged by poverty then he can understand.

dlz said...

I find it hard to believe that he doesn't know what the situation is. Just one anecdote: my chavrusa was offered a teaching position after many years in Kollel. He consulted Rav Shteinman about whether he should take it. One of the first reasons Rav Shteinman gave in favor of taking the position was the increased income he would get from the teaching position.

Unknown said...

"Really, Rav Shteinman hasn't had what you'd call a meal for over 70 years. He learns more Torah in one day than you learn in an entire month and you eat more in one day than he eats in an entire month."

The above is typical of the hyperbole and exaggeration with which all of charedi speech is permeated. In a sense, they are just following in the way of chazal, who also regularly spoke in exaggerated tones. But they were able to speak that way, we cannot....

In any event, its very possible that r shteinman doesn't understand the needs of the people. (Don't you know the Gemara with R. Gamliel and the black walls caused by the oven with no bread in it?) However, its more likely that the needs are not really relevant to him. His conception of Torah is X, and therefore cannot budge from it. If people do not share that conception and still follow him, that's their problem. Sadly, most charedim are simply not educated - and I mean that in a Torah sense, in addition of course to a secular sense - and don't know there's a whole panorama of spectrums within the Torah world.

Unknown said...

Sorry, the above was from me, DF

David Kavanagh said...

On the topic of the post, I can't see the issue with women getting degrees or being educated; my daughter is getting a degree, two of my sisters have higher degrees as does my wife. None of this stops them from being observant. There is everything right about women being educated to the best of their abilities, for they contribute back to society and as the US, UK or Canada or Israel prosper, so does the Jewish community. There is nothing virtuous in poverty and we are not called to be monks or to abase ourselves in the glorification of poverty either, as some Christians seem to do.

David Kavanagh said...

On a general note,on the poverty, a system set up so people don't work but study Torah all day is not going to last and this is the end result of that systems failure. I wonder when the dust has settled, in 10 or 20 years time, how many Jews will have rejected the Torah as a result of how this sect operates by grinding people into poverty and lack of education?

Because I am able to do so, I have to work to feed my family and to contribute to society and help the community. It is quite simple really, like saying 1 plus 1 equals 2. In the west (I count Israel as a western country in terms of economic wealth) Jews have a tremendous opportunity nowadays to flourish and contribute (that's that word again) to society.

I cannot grasp why it is impossible for a Jew to remain observant, Orthodox, but not interact with the world around themselves and contribute to society (ow, there's that word again)as per Jeremiah 29.

The poverty here is one of a communities own making, which is even more disturbing, because traditionally Jews have been seen as economic role models for other minorities.

On the other hand I have boundless optimism and hopefully we will see something positive come out of this mess, both for the Haredi and Jewry generally. But the path leading to this, probably won't be a happy one.